In the rainy and lush landscapes of northeastern Turkey, the Kaçkar mountains form the northern section of the Anatolian mountain chain. The Kaçkar-Kavron summit, at an altitude of 3932 meters, is the highest point in the range. Extensive glacier and water erosion have given these mountains their craggy, rugged look, and they are known for the complexity and power of the streams and rivers which rush down to the lower altitudes. In fact, this range is the third most important glacial region in Turkey following the Agri (Ararat) and Cilo-Sat mountains. The geological and mountaineering aspects of the Kaçkars contribute to their importance in Turkey's economy and tourism.
The region enjoys an almost subtropical climate of temperate yet rainy weather with an average temperature of 14 C. The lowest temperature, 7 C., fall in the month of January while August sees the hottest days reaching a maximum recorded temperature of 22.6 C.
The Kaçkars rise in between the shores of the Black Sea to the north and the River Coruh valley to the south. On the northern flank, a good variety of vegetation flourishes in the rainy climate. Up to 500 meters above sea level, tea plantations and citrus orchards cover the hillsides. Chestnut, hornbeam, beech and other large-leafed trees forest the slopes to 750 meters. Between 750-1500 meters of elevation, pines mix in with the large leafed trees forest the slopes to 750 meters. Between 750-1500 meters of elevation, pines mix in with the large leafed trees until gradually they remain the only species of tree from 1500-2000 meters. Alpine meadows and other grassy vegetation covers the ground above 2100 meters. On the southern faces of the Kaçkars, which receive strong sunshine and less precipitation, the agriculture is based on the cultivation of fruits and vines. As on the north side in the higher elevations, meadows of wild flowers and grass blanket the slopes up to 2300 meters.
The Altiparmak, Kavron, Varsamba mountains are the principal peaks of the Kaçkars. Both the north and south faces of the Altiparmak and Kavron can be scaled but Varsamba should only be attempted from the north face. It is imperative to use a local guide when climbing the Kaçkars.
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